Walking life

Last night my plan had been to go check out the First Thursday gallery openings, but by about 5 I decided I was probably too tired. Still, I needed to get out of the apartment at least once for the day, and the cats were almost out of cat food (cat, not kitten. Sputnik is finally one year old!), so I headed over to Fred Meyer. Once I got there, I realized that I felt too restless to go straight home. I bought the smallest size bag of food, and hopped on the bus to go downtown.

For the next few days, there are several ships docked at Waterfront Park. This was immediately obvious as soon as the bus pulled over the bridge. Not because I noticed the ships, but because there are sailors everywhere. Really, all over. In packs, hanging around, talking on cell phones, wandering aimlessly. Why do they stay in uniform for shore leave? It seems strangely old-fashioned.

My first stop was Borders to see if they had Otaku USA yet (answer: yes). The editor is Patrick Macias, of the Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno book I wrote about before, and it’s a fun package of reviews and previews of manga and anime. It might be worth it just for the sample DVD that’s included, containing full episodes of three different shows. I was surprised that the writing seems to target adult fans of these Japanese cultural exports as well as teenage boys. Some of the content reviewed is pretty hardcore, actually (very graphic horror series, as well as yaoi–but then there’s an article on the Transformers movie, too).

After Borders, I walked over to the Portland Art Center, where I ran into a couple of people I knew, and looked at an exhibit of photographs of people contrasted with their online game avatars. At one point while I was walking around, I remembered the cat food, and nearly started giggling out loud at the thought of being the only person in an art gallery carrying a bag of cat food. Random, eh?

Then I went home. But the thing that I kept thinking about is how not having a car or driving anywhere myself means that I’m always carrying odd things with me. If I go shopping, I have to hold onto those things until I go home. For me it’s always like this, so it doesn’t seem that weird until I’m looking at hipster women in impractical shoes and bags that aren’t big enough for grocery shopping. And maybe a lot of them walked or took a bus too, but I feel like I’ve internalized this in some other way. The way that bike messengers dress in a certain way because they’re always on the bike.

One response to “Walking life

  1. I’m pretty sure the sailors wear their uniforms whenever they’re on shore leave. Or maybe only when they’re on a “fun” shore leave, like Portland’s Rose Festival. I think it’s awesome seeing all those Cracker Jacks wandering around Old Town, going to shows, looking, as you say, anachronistic.

    It’s good PR: everyone knows the ships are in town, so the guys (and ladies) in the funny white uniforms are like rock stars for the weekend. At the very least it makes it easier for the hookers and strippers to spot the guys with A) cash in their pockets, who B) haven’t had sex in a while.